"Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His footstool; For He is holy. Moses and Aaron were among His priests, and Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the LORD, and He answered them" (Psalm 98:5-6).
In our Bible Class here at Faith, we have been going through the history of the Lutheran Church from the time of Luther down to our own day.
It has been both interesting and sad to note that from the beginning there have been those in every generation who seek to unite with others who do not agree in all the doctrines of Scripture. From Melanchthon, who softened the Augsburg Confession, down to the years of World War I and II and in our own time, unification has been the thought and the idea driving many individuals. As a result many have sacrificed the Word for the sake of unity and then claim how wonderful it all is.
How sad to think that human reason has stepped in so that the Word of our Lord being passed down from one generation to another means so little.
This truth ought to be a warning to us so that--as the years unfold and a love for the Word grows colder with each passing day--we do not become caught up in such thinking. Rather, let us pray that we might increase our resolve to stand firm on the Word of the Lord our God, sacrificing nothing. For it is the Word that our fathers have handed down to us and not their own thoughts or their own traditions.
As we gather together on Thanksgiving morning, we ought to reflect for a moment before or after the service that we are joining countless thousands of other believers on this day to give thanks and praise to God. It would also be good to consider that this God we worship is the same God that our fathers worshiped in their day. We ought to give thanks to God for such fathers who, in love and concern for us their children, desired to teach us the truth of the Word and nothing but the truth. Fathers not just in the human sense, but in the spiritual sense also. We would include such fathers of our own synod who have passed on like Pastors George Barthels, C. M. Gullerud, M. J. Witt, Leland Grams (to name a few). These too are our fathers in that in their conviction and dedication to the Word, they stood on the Word and worshiped God rather than men.
We could go back over the years and name any number of faithful fathers--of families and of congregations and synods--who stood on the Word and proclaimed the truth to their children. We should rightly go back to the apostles, Peter and James and John and Paul and Andrew; and to the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, who faithfully delivered to us the Word of the Lord. We should number among our fathers the prophets of the Old Testament such as Amos, Micah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Isaiah, Samuel, David, and Moses--all of whom delivered and stood upon the Word of God.
Yet it is not these men, these individuals, that we worship. For from Adam to Barthels, Gullerud, Witt, and Grams to your pastor--one and all have pointed us their children not to themselves nor to the things of this world, but to God, the Father of us all. They pointed us to the promised Seed. They directed us to Jesus the Messiah. They turned our hearts and thoughts away from themselves and toward God, who is our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. God, who has so richly blessed us. This God--this God of our fathers--is the God we worship and praise.
As you and I sit in church on Thanksgiving Day or on any Sunday, we join all believers to worship the God of these, our fathers--the only true God and Jesus Christ who is our Savior.
–The devotional reading for November 25, 1999 in the booklet prepared by Pastor Roland H. Gurgel, at the time pastor at Minnesota churches Faith Lutheran Church, Nicollet and Faith Lutheran Church, New Ulm. Pastor Gurgel now serves at Our Savior’s, Jamestown, North Dakota.
We worship Thee, God of our fathers, we bless Thee; Thro’ life’s storm and tempest our Guide hast Thou been; When perils o’ertake us, escape
Thou wilt make us, And with Thy help, O Lord, our battles we win. (Hymn 568:2 TLH)